BENGALURU: A 23-year-old Computer Science graduate from the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Ongole has been arrested by the Bengaluru police for allegedly hacking into a website and illicitly gaining reward points worth a staggering Rs 4.16 crore.
The accused, identified as Bommaluru Lakshmipathi, reportedly redeemed approximately 6 lakh gift vouchers through fraudulent means, leaving authorities astounded.
A Tech Savvy Mastermind
Lakshmipathi, a native of Andhra Pradesh, had pursued his education at IIIT, Ongole, and later secured employment at a software firm in Bengaluru. However, he decided to leave his job in December and briefly worked in Dubai before returning to Bengaluru. Little did anyone suspect his hidden talents.
According to police sources, Lakshmipathi had honed his hacking skills during his college days, and his curiosity led him down a nefarious path. His hacking exploits primarily targeted Reward360, a company specializing in loyalty and rewards programs.
The Elusive Trail Begins
Lakshmipathi’s journey into cybercrime began when he faced a hiccup with his credit card. Seeking resolution, he contacted his bank, which promptly rewarded him with a voucher as compensation. Intrigued by the mechanics behind reward vouchers, Lakshmipathi discovered Reward360, the company responsible for the voucher. Seizing the opportunity, he skillfully breached the company’s security, designing a code that allowed him to continuously amass gift vouchers.
For nearly six months, the young graduate siphoned off vouchers, accumulating an astonishing wealth of Rs 4.16 crore. The vouchers, restricted for use on e-commerce platforms, became Lakshmipathi’s ticket to acquiring gold, silver, motorcycles, and more, all with dreams of establishing a cyber security firm or settling in Dubai.
The Unraveling of the Scheme
However, Lakshmipathi’s illicit reign eventually drew scrutiny as complaints poured into Reward360. Clients reported being unable to redeem their vouchers, prompting an internal investigation. The probe soon revealed that the majority of the vouchers were being redeemed from a single account, triggering alarm bells.
On June 24, Reward360 filed a formal complaint with the South-East CEN police. Inspector Harish V Reddy and his team, specializing in cybercrime, were quick to crack the case. The operation was traced back to Whitefield, and Lakshmipathi was identified as the mastermind behind this audacious cybercrime.
A Seizure of Unprecedented Proportions
During their operation, the Bengaluru police managed to confiscate a treasure trove of ill-gotten gains from Lakshmipathi’s possession. Among the seized items were 5.26 kg of gold worth Rs 3.40 crore, 25.25 kg of silver valued at Rs 21.80 lakh, a substantial sum of Rs 11.13 lakh in cash, seven two-wheelers totaling Rs 12 lakh, two laptops worth Rs 1.30 lakh, and three mobile phones valued at Rs 90,000.
Moreover, police discovered Rs 26 lakh in his Flipkart wallet and an additional Rs 3.50 lakh in his Amazon wallet. These astonishing finds have marked this as the most substantial seizure in a cybercrime case in the year 2023, according to police officials.
A Tale of Contrasting Backgrounds
Lakshmipathi’s story is one of stark contrasts. Hailing from a humble family of farmers, he had hidden his activities from his unsuspecting parents. The gold and silver were concealed in his hometown, while the two-wheelers were kept in Bengaluru.
The young IT graduate now finds himself in judicial custody, facing the consequences of his actions. His arrest serves as a stark reminder of the risks and consequences associated with cybercrime, as well as the need for vigilance in an increasingly digital world.
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